Soviet Trauma and the Discourse Analysis of Narratives in Oral History

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Marine Turashvili


February 25, 1921 was a tragic day for Georgia - since then for the next 70 years our country has been under the influence of a totalitarian communist regime. Unfortunately, many events of the Soviet period that in various scales are traumatic in the history of our country, have not yet been properly studied or evaluated, especially from the memory perspective. This is highlighted by the fact that even in history textbooks or among scientists, the traumatic perception of this or that Soviet event has not been completely analyzed in order to assess the regime accurately. All above mentioned facts, in their turn, lead to heterogeneous attitudes on the part of the society towards the seventy-year history of the last century.

The "favour" for the Soviet past is especially felt in the villages of Georgia, in spite of the traumatic events of the Soviet Union that took place there in full force (genocide, collectivization, the terror of 1937-38, World War II, deportations, etc.). We think this is due to the fact that in villages the elderly rarely discuss or re-evaluate the Soviet past, while the young generation is unaware of the whispered stories of that time, as well as the experiences hidden because of fear or shame caused by memory politics.

Studying the totalitarian communist regime stories embedded in individual memory from a modern perspective view is important for understanding the traumatic perception of the Soviet past. Our research is based on the oral histories recorded over the last two decades. Discourse analysis of oral histories reveals that trauma plays an important role. They serve as a dividing line, according to which the narratives are divided into three significantly different periods: "this", "before" and "after".

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Colonial, Postcolonial, Decolonial and Neocolonial Experiences